Both Minister Hipkins Cabinet Paper (Cabinet-Paper-Policy-Proposals-for-Updating-the-Educ.) recommending the closure of Kura Hourua and the repealing of Partnership School | Kura Hourua legislation (via the Education Amendment Bill 2018), and the Ministry of Education’s Regulatory Impact Statement (Andrea Schollmann, 16 January 2018) (1089817-Dep-Sec-signed-Regulatory Impact Statement – Partnership-Schools) pointed out that there had been no consultation with interested and affected parties and that the decision to close existing Kura Hourua and prevent any new Kura Hourua from opening took no account of evidence of their success.
Minister Hipkin’s decision was at odds with public comments made by Minister Hipkins himself, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Hon Meka Whaitiri, Hon Willie Jackson and Labour Party Deputy Leader Hon Kelvin Davis. In essence all stated that ‘no Charter School would be closed that taught the New Zealand Curriculum, that employed registered teachers, and had comparable costs to state schools. Despite these conditions being met, the Minister of Education’s officials have ensured that existing ‘Charter Schools’ will be closed by the end of the 2018 school year.
Additionally, the Education Amendment Bill, when passed into legislation, will ensure no new partnership schools can open.
The contracts each school entered into with the Crown included the right for the Minister of Education to terminate these contracts ‘at ‘the Minister’s convenience’, which is what is happening, despite these young schools delivering very good results for their 1500 at-risk students, that is, contracts entered into in good faith for an initial term of six years (with two further rights of renewal for six years each) are being terminated ‘for convenience’. The first four schools opened in 2014, the newest opened in 2018.
It is noteworthy that contract termination notices were issued to the schools before the Education and Workforce Parliamentary Select Committee has heard submissions on the Bill to remove partnership schools from the Education Amendment Act 1984.